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New operators could be brought in to run trains in Melbourne.
The newcomers could operate services to Melbourne Airport and on the ambitious suburban rail loop.
It would signal a significant switch from existing arrangements which give Metro Trains free rein on the metropolitan rail network.
As many as three operators could eventually run trains across the city.
Rail planners are being brought in to work out how Melbourne’s rail system will run as major projects are completed.
Tender documents show a key objective will be to “assess whether there is merit for the introduction of new operators” to the Victorian rail network for Melbourne Airport Rail and the suburban rail loop.
Rail planners will look at the pros and cons of new operators for Melbourne Airport Rail and the Suburban Rail Loop. Picture: FileThey would also assess the “pros and cons and issues associated with the introduction of new operators” for the new lines or keeping the same operator with revised performance goals.
State Government spokeswoman Hayley Bester said: “Rail Projects Victoria is seeking expert advice on how to integrate these massive new projects into the existing rail network.”
“These city shaping projects will change our public transport system forever — it’s vital all options are on the table regarding how the network is run in the long term,’’ she said.
Metro Trains was in 2017 awarded a seven-year extension to run Melbourne’s rail service.
Metro Trains Australia — which is also owned by Hong Kong’s MTR — is part of a consortium which wants to build and operate the airport rail link.
“Under this proposal, Metro Trains Australia would operate and maintain the new line,’’
Metro Trains Australia chief executive officer Leah Waymark said.
“Metro Trains Australia has interest in operating Suburban Rail Loop trains and would seek to support government by participating in any process.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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